Jamie Redknapp has criticised Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel’s goalkeeper decision in Sunday’s League Cup final defeat to Liverpool.
In hindsight, it certainly looked silly.
Kepa Arrizabalaga was specifically deployed for the penalty shoot-out and failed to make any save before missing his kick.
The Spain international played an important role in Chelsea’s reaching the final in the first place and arguably deserved his chance.
However, Redknapp insisted that Edouard Mendy should have never left the pitch.
“I hope it puts to bed this substitution of putting goalkeepers on [for penalty shoot-out],” he said on Sky Sports (via Football Daily)
“Edouard Mendy, one of the best goalkeepers in the world, and you put Kepa instead of him. Ridiculous.
“I didn’t like his behaviour when penalties are being taken, and then he took one of the worst penalties you’ve ever seen.
“I’m just being honest, I don’t like it. I don’t understand why you’d do it.
“You’ve got one of the best goalkeepers in the world, he should have stayed on.”
To be fair, Tuchel has done exactly the same thing before, such as in the UEFA Super Cup, and it worked well.
The manager has also previously highlighted that Arrizabalaga is a better penalty-stopper than Mendy.
“We had some statistics, we were well-prepared, [knowing] that Kepa has the best percentage at saving penalties,” Tuchel said after the UEFA Super Cup win in August (via The Mirror).
Arrizabalaga’s error eventually cost Chelsea the final, but it is unfair to solely blame him when the team could have won the game if it was not for several big misses.